The Auditor-General South Africa (AGSA) firstly briefed the Committee on the audit outcomes of the South African Police Services (SAPS or the Department), for the 2013/14 financial year. There had been an overall improvement in the audit outcomes for SAPS and Private Security Industry Regulatory Authority (PSIRA). However, AGSA indicated that that controls issues remained stagnant, due to ineffective leadership and personnel capacity at a management level. The findings of the Auditor-General suggested that SAPS, DPCI and PSIRA had to enhance their leadership; financial and performance management and compliance with legislation. Members expressed themselves shocked by the exceptionally high levels of fruitless and wasteful expenditure, which SAPS itself had assessed at around R90 million but which was later reported to be over R650 million, and the continuing problems with the firearms registry, despite the fact that it was centralised to try to deal with the backlogs and problems. They also questioned the leadership, consequence management and one Member expressed the view that if SAPS was not given sufficient budget then it was not surprising that it failed to meet certain targets. The AGSA commented further on what would be regarded as SMART targets. Members asked about the use of consultants, called for comment whether there had in fact been improvements, questioned the quality of the financial statements and asked about the position of the Civilian Secretariat for Police Services.
The Committee Researcher and Content Advisor then took the Committee briefly through some of the essential indicators and targets for the number of police stations, the personnel breakdown, the police to population ratio of 1: 346, and the number of police deaths. They explained that the biggest challenge for the SAPS was setting reliable and measurable performance indicators and targets, which affected clear and flawless assessment or evaluation of the Department’s outcomes and impact. If the Department was to have any chance of improving its service delivery mandate in the current financial year, then it would have to improve how it set predetermined targets, as well as improving controls. Some highlights and targets for the programmes and sub-programme were presented, for Programmes 3 (Detective Services), with a focus on forensic science, the Criminal Records Centre, and firearms. Detailed statistics were outlined for numbers of arrests, convictions and other issues. Members were concerned that they had not received all documentation, particularly not an update on crime statistics, although SAPS maintained it had been forwarded to the Committee. Sub-programme 5 was the Specialised Investigations, the Directorate for Priority Crime Investigations, and the positioning and status of this DPCI received the focus during later questions.
The SAPS then briefed the Committee on Programme 3: Detective Services, setting out the achievement against targets, and noted the overall performance, which had increased despite 16 additional targets having been set in this year. The comments of the Auditor-General were noted and SAPS was working on solutions. It was noted that SAPS was ranked amongst the most improved departments in this year, having moved to position 12. However, DPCI had not reached its targets. In this year, it was being reported upon as part of Programme 3, but would be reported on as a separate Programme 6 in the following year. Members asked if the SAPS had complied with the National Development Plan requirement that all people be, and feel safe, asked about the seeming urban bias, and how SAPS was enhancing leadership at station level. Members asked what was being done about the laboratories and what relationship SAPS and the Department of Health had to try to improve forensic service laboratory performance. Members wanted to know what still needed to be implemented, and questioned the numbers of crimes committed correlations between those and the number of convictions, and SAPS explained how the targets and figures were calculated. Members questioned SAPS's failure to reach targets for reducing crime against women and children, and raised cases where SAPS either permitted or actively encouraged the withdrawal of Domestic Violence Act cases. They asked pointedly whether South Africa was losing the battle against crime. They also asked for an update on the position with staffing, any approaches made to National Treasury, leadership issues, informants, and what was regarded as a "court-ready" docket. Members asked for more detail on cooperation of units within SAPS, and with other departments, noted that the constitutional issues with the DPCI Amendment Act were still with the Constitutional Court, and further discussions were held on the position of the Hawks and the SAPS units generally, with Members and the Commissioner entering into a debate on the terminology used and what it was intended to convey. Members also explored the potential for separate votes, and what this would mean from an operational point of view. They raised concerns about the lack of efficient leadership at station level of SAPS.
South African Police Services (SAPS) Audit outcomes 2013/14: Auditor-General South Africa briefing
Ms Surette Taljaard, Senior Manager, Auditor-General South Africa (AGSA), noted that the South African Police Service (SAPS), Independent Police Investigative Directorate (IPID) and Private Security Industry Regulatory Authority (PSIRA) obtained unqualified audit reports for the 2012/14 financial year. This constituted a moderate improvement on the previous financial year. The improvement in the audit outcomes of these entities was brought about by the efforts of management in addressing previous material findings on the financial statements, specifically related to unknown deposits. Three of the risk areas improved with regards to predetermined objectives within IPID. The quality of financial statements remained stagnant, however, as IPID and PSIRA still had to adjust material misstatements. Predetermined objectives remained unsatisfactory in the SAPS and PSIRA, primarily as a result of ineffective leadership that resulted in processes and procedures not being adhered to. There were no major improvements in the key controls due to a lack of leadership and personnel capacity in key management positions.
The AGSA recommended that all three auditees strengthen their leadership; financial and performance management to create a control environment that supported reliable financial and performance reporting and compliance with legislation. The accounting authority had to address the root causes of poor audit outcomes and inadequate controls, by strengthening controls and calling upon individuals who were performing poorly to account.
The Chairperson referred to the AGSA's findings on ineffective leadership at station and provincial levels, specifically with regards to performance information. During oversight visits to police stations by the Committee, Members noticed that station commanders were under pressure, and were trying to multi-task across a wide variety of matters. He sought clarity as to whether the trend of ineffective leadership was deteriorating, whether it was the same trend seen over the last few years and asked the AGSA for suggestions as to how leadership could be improved at station level.
Ms Taljaard reported that the overall performance information for SAPS had improved, given that leadership in the organisation had dealt with previous findings, which consequently improved process flows, and this was borne out by AGSA's observations over the last five years. However, she conceded that recurring problems presented themselves at a police station level. Several years ago, the AGSA thought that the problem was related to communication within SAPS, because when police stations were visited officials often did know what compliance mechanisms they had to comply with. At some point SAPS indicated that it made efforts to eliminate this problem. The problem for the AGSA was that station commanders did not play an effective role in monitoring and reviewing predetermined objectives. Deputy station commanders could have a greater role in the administrative aspects of the work of SAPS, to ensure that pre-determined objectives were achieved.
Ms D Kohler-Barnard (DA) said that the SAPS incurred wasteful and fruitless expenditure for the current year that greatly exceeded the figure reported for the previous year. She conceded that the office of the AGSA did not have endless staff and resources and understood the reasons as to why the AGSA could only audit 5% of the programmes of SAPS. She asked how fruitless and wasteful expenditure for SAPS increased from R94 million to R658 million, and also wanted to know if the SAPS admitted to the amount of R658 million upfront, given that in previous years SAPS waited for the AGSA to identify irregularities. She also asked if AGSA was satisfied that R658 million was the full amount?
Ms Taljaard commented that fruitless and wasteful expenditure was difficult to audit. The AGSA did not identify fruitless and wasteful expenditure, as this was usually done by SAPS itself. The AGSA only audited processes, and what the Department had identified, and she suggested that the Member pose her question to SAPS directly.
Ms A Molebatsi (ANC) asked why there was a situation that 64% of falsified firearm applications could not be confirmed. She requested an explanation for what caused this, and questioned if it was deliberate.
Ms Taljaard responded that four years ago, applications were still kept at police stations but complaints of insufficient storage later arose, which prompted SAPS to move all applications to a central location. This was where the problem started, as SAPS indicated that there were volumes of records and also it still lacked sufficient storage space. The SAPS had to go down to the basics such as indexing files and boxes, since it was clear that there were no basic systems in place. Leadership in this environment was not what it should be.
Ms Molebatsi asked what the AGSA’s view on the use of foreign funds for projects was.
Ms Taljaard noted that most Departments would accept foreign funds if these were offered. SAPS generally did not receive large foreign donations, but foreign funds were audited. As long as foreign funds were used appropriately and for the intended reasons the AGSA found nothing problematic with the use of such funds.
Mr J Maake (ANC) asked what consequence management was.
The Chairperson commented that that firearm registry surely presented sufficient for a disclaimer, given that the AG could not really indicate what the situation was. In other sections of SAPS there were verification, audit trails and necessary controls. He asked why this problem was continuing in the Central Firearm Registry, and at what level the problem was found.
Ms Kohler-Bernard said that she struggled to understand the reasons for the magnitude of the fruitless and wasteful expenditure, which had soared to R658 million. She asked how this compared to fruitless and wasteful expenditure in other Departments. The fact that it shot up to R658 million, from a previous level of around R90 million, spoke volumes, and AGSA had indicated that the SAPS conducted an investigation because it did not know there was so much fruitless and wasteful expenditure a year ago. SAPS thought that it was about R90 million, and but later admitted that it was R658 million. She thought that SAPS management had "no clue" about how money was being spent throughout the Department, reiterated that she was shaken by this amount, and asked the AGSA to inform the Committee whether it was the norm across Departments or whether it represented an extraordinary case.
Ms Taljaard responded that it was difficult to compare fruitless and wasteful expenditure between different Departments. This kind of expenditure occurred all other Departments. She recommended that the SAPS must be asked to dissect this and explain to the Committee. The general report should provide the Committee with this kind of information, as it usually included a comparison of this kind of expenditure with other Departments.
Mr J Maake (ANC) said that in this year, he would be particularly focusing on asking questions about the IPID. He wanted to know what happened when institutions had the legal mandate to perform certain actions but did not have the necessary resources and human capacity to achieve such mandates. In his view, a legal mandate meant that an institution had to do perform its functions according to the law. He asked whether the AGSA took into account the fact that some Departments do not have the necessary resources or capacity to achieve their legal mandate, during the audit processes.
Ms Taljaard responded that Departments had to use indicators that were SMART, and stated that criteria were considered SMART when they were achievable. Effectively, a Catch-22 situation would present if an institution had a certain legal mandate and performance indicators, but lacked the necessary systems, resources or finances to achieve them. From an audit perspective, if that was the case, the AGSA would provide a finding that the targets were not achievable. The relevant Department would have to look at how it could meet its indicators or performance targets if possible. For instance, when the SAPS had a legal mandate to prevent drug trafficking, it must have relevant processes in place, given that it was the organisation's mandate and part of its performance indicators. If those processes were not in place, the Department could not report on the set indicator as intended. She stated that, as an auditor she must provide independent findings.
The Chairperson commented that SAPS spent 100% of its budget each year and asked whether there was value for money. After the Committee’s last interaction with the AGSA in relation to the SAPS, the AGSA stated that it did not audit detailed information, such as contained in the crime statistics and he asked whether the published statistics correlated with the information on the case administration system. He asked the AGSA to express an opinion on the accuracy, completeness and validity of the national crime statistics report, and whether the AGSA planned to conduct a separate audit in this regard in the future.
Ms Taljaard commented that SAPS had improved its performance over the last five years that she had audited the Department. In comparison to other Departments, SAPS had achieved the principle of value for money as it had a system in place that supported “value for money”. The crime statistics were discussed with the National Commissioner, and the AGSA held the view that the SAPS wanted to provide the public with some assurance that the information was audited externally. Based on the methodology used by the AGSA, it was difficult to provide a definite answer even though the AGSA had audited the indicator that led to the crime statistics. There was communication between the AGSA's office and the National Commissioner to set up a meeting where certain uniform procedures would be agreed upon, to this end.
Ms Kohler-Barnard asked the AGSA to give a breakdown of the R658 million that it had informed the Committee about in relation to penalties; interests; traffic fines and vehicles. She wanted to know whether the AGSA had the three separate figures available.
Mr J Maake reiterated that his question was not answered in relation to the legal mandate of SAPS as he said there was never a budget set out. He said it seemed to make no sense that that when a Department was not allocated with the necessary resources to execute its mandate, it should then get a finding because it that not achieve the said mandate. He questioned the methods used by AGSA in its auditing processes once again, and questioned whether it was fair to say that the targets were unrealistic.
Ms Taljaard said that she could go into the details but her mandate was to audit financial statements and financial statements had to reflect what was done during the course of a financial year. Looking at the budget of departments was not something that fell within the mandate of the AGSA. As long as departments provided financial statements that indicated exactly how funds had been utilised, then their statements would obviously be unqualified. However, AGSA was unable, merely by looking at the budget, to determine the performance of Departments, as indicators were captured within the strategic plans of the departments. If the SAPS had completed all the processes properly and every action was authorised, then from an audit perspective there would be no problem, because the financial statements would reflect what happened within that Department.
Ms Molebatsi said that the use of consultants was a continuing problem. She asked the AGSA to indicate whether this was getting better or worse.
Ms Taljaard answered that the trends for use of consultants remained about the same. Consultants used by this Department were not really consultants in the same sense as other departments; for instance, they were not appointed to act in senior posts, but tended rather to be used for short-term projects such as building police stations. In her opinion, the use of consultants by the SAPS in this year was neither better nor worse.
Mr K Mbhele (DA) commented that there was a massive increase in fruitless and wasteful expenditure within the Independent Police Investigative Directorate (IPID), from R2m to R314m. He asked that AGSA confirm whether the sums were correct, and that that bulk of fruitless and wasteful expenditure was a result of the system not being used properly. He asked whether the booklet that the AGSA referred to was available online.
Ms Taljaard said that she assumed that the booklet would be online, given that it was sent to her electronically.
The Chairperson asked whether the problem with the quality of financial statements of PSIRA and IPID was continuing and asked if there was a role for the National Treasury to assist those entities.
Ms Taljaard commented that the AGSA tried to benchmark, and suggested that the Committee should ask that question of National Treasury. AGSA had not observed that National Treasury had taken specific steps to assist. Generally, clients held the view that the AGSA came in to help them clear the financial statements, and AGSA constantly had to stress to them that the it had to audit the financial statements it received, which were the responsibility of the departments.
The Chairperson asked whether the Civilian Secretariat for Police Services (the Secretariat) would be audited as a separate department, noting that AGSA had not made any reference to it, and he asked if AGSA and the Secretariat had had any preliminary interactions.
Ms Taljaard responded that AGSA intended to arrange meetings with the Secretariat. No audit was yet completed but the AGSA would provide the Secretariat with a knowledge paper. About two years ago, the AGSA sat in at a strategic session with the Secretariat and informed it about the necessity to have SMART indicators, and various meetings were held with the management to ask whether the management team had identified risks with the entity's migration to a new system; whether it had an internal audit unit, and an audit committee, amongst others. AGSA was informed that the Secretariat’s audit committee was in the process two weeks ago. AGSA would only commence its audit process in January 2015, and would then have a better understanding of what was happening at the Secretariat after completing its planning.
Ms Kohler-Bernard commented that files were lying all over the corridors of the Firearm Licenses division, and yet the Committee was assured that there was no battle with licenses, and that there was no backlog. She questioned how, given this situation, it was possible for the SAPS to actually know what the real position was, and asked if AGSA could give any indication of what the backlog was in terms of new applications and renewals.
Ms Taljaard said that when AGSA audited predetermined objectives, it did not audit or look at everything. When deciding upon the materiality considerations, there was a measurement taken of a sample that was selected in respect of each department. For SAPS, 54% was the target figure; and from that, AGSA was unable to say whether there was or was not a backlog. Ms Taljaard suggested that it would be necessary to draw exception reports from the system and assess whether the system would be able to generate such information.
The Chairperson made reference to the question of good governance and financial management. He noted that page 29 of the Annual Report of SAPS indicated that there were financial management vacancies under Divisional Commissioners. The Chief Financial Officer's (CFO) position was vacant within SAPS for an extended period, and various explanations were given to the Committee. He asked the AGSA whether it was acceptable, from a good governance perspective, to have a R72 billion department running without the CFO position being filled.
Ms Taljaard commented that there was no material finding on that in the current financial year. Based on output of the Department, there was no real risk, given that Gen Stefan Schutte, Head, Resource Management, SAPS, had ensured that all procedures had been complied with. In the interests of good governance, however, she confirmed that the post had to be filled in the future.
The Chairperson responded if that was the case, he wondered why AGSA had not indicated it to the Committee in its presentation. With both IPID and PSIRA , there were risks in terms of financial management and possibly also at the Secretariat, depending on what might be seen from the audit outcomes of next year. SAPS had a big budget and the Committee had to have an assurance that everything was in place when it came to top management, so that it could properly comment on this during the compilation of the Budgetary Review and Recommendations Report (BRRR). If the accounting officer, for example, said that someone else was performing the duties of the CFO, this would be inconsistent with the conventions of the Public Financial Management Act (PFMA).
Ms Taljaard responded if a Department had an Acting CFO, the AGSA saw that position as being filled. If there was no risk and the financial statements was in order, AGSA would not need to highlight that point specifically. That was the reason that it was not mentioned in the presentation.
Mr Maake commented that he had looked at the mission of the AGSA, and noticed that the organisation intended to enhance oversight and accountability, and strengthen democracy and governance, among others. The AGSA was supposed to present the root causes of why departments were performing poorly to Parliament. He thus questioned why the AGSA reports did not indicate that the root cause of the problem in SAPS was that the Department was never allocated with the necessary funds for the elections, as that could also have been the root cause of lack of accountability, governance and so forth.
SAPS 2013/14 Performance: Service Delivery and Financial Summary Analysis: Committee Researcher's analysis
Mr Tembani Mabadlanyana, Portfolio Committee Researcher, highlighted the centrality of the Department’s annual report hearing and the importance of the Committee’s oversight obligations. By the end of the 2013/14 financial year, there were 1 137 police stations across the country, with an establishment of 194 853 personnel. Of these, 153 116 were SAPS Act employees and 41 736 were Public Service Act employees. The police to population ratio was 1 police officer for 346 people. In this year, 71 SAPS members were killed; 29 on duty and 48 off duty, which constituted a decrease compared to the 2012/13 financial year.
SAPS received a total appropriation of R68.797,426 billion, which represented an increase of R874.308 million compared to the previous financial year. It utilised R68.791 billion of the total budget. All Departments in the SAPS spent well across their allocated budgets (see attached presentation for full details). Despite some achievements, there were major challenges that had to be remedied. As was pointed out in the report of the AGSA, the Department was in a position of stagnation, and did not show a commitment to improve progress on its service delivery outputs.
The biggest challenge for the SAPS was setting reliable and measurable performance indicators and targets, which affected clear and flawless assessment or evaluation of the Department’s outcomes and impact. If the Department was to have any chance of improving its service delivery mandate in the current financial year, then it would have to improve how it set predetermined targets. The Department also had to improve on its strategic planning and performance management, to ensure effective and efficient internal controls around performance management.
The Chairperson asked for confirmation of the situation, from a procedural point of view, with the reports of SAPS.
Mr Mabadlanyana responded that in the previous financial year, SAPS provided an annexure to its Annual Report but did not to do so for the current financial year.
Mr Irvin Kinnes, Content Advisor to the Portfolio Committee on Police, added that the legislation stipulated that the Department had to table the annexures, given that it was the usual practice and that the Department had done so in all other financial years. He confirmed that it would be necessary for the Committee to have the crime statistics.
The Chairperson asked whether the Committee received any briefing document on the crime statistics.
Mr Kinnes indicated that no such document was received.
Ms Kohler -Barnard agreed that the Committee had to have a briefing document on the statistics. She said that she had attended the session for KwaZulu-Natal and Limpopo, where crime statistics were presented, but the information released at that time was incorrect. For instance, she noted that these reported 500 cases of stock theft in the middle of an urban area. Only weeks later, SAPS had corrected the figures on its website. Obviously, those cases were not audited.
Committee section briefing on specific programmes: Programme 3: Detective Services
It was noted that Programme 3: Detective Services was one of the main arteries of the SAPS and this programme had four sub-programmes, including crime investigations; specialised investigations; the criminal record centre (CRC) and forensic science laboratory (FSL). Expenditure on crime investigations expanded to 101.2%; the CRC spending to 102.3%; forensic science laboratory to 101.4% and specialized investigations to 97.4%. The Department spent R9.7 billion on crime investigations; R8 billion on general investigations; R737 million on family violence and child protection units; 501 million on vehicle theft units and R420 million on stock theft units. The Department spent R3.7 billion on the Forensic Laboratory and CRC and spent R1.3 billion on specialized investigations.
Sub-programme 1: Crime Investigations
It was reported that the SAPS had noted that the key problem within the Detective Services programme was poor feedback to complainants, and this was also an issue that the SAPS had grappled with for some time. SAPS (also referred to in this presentation as "the Department (of Police) had issued instructions regarding feedback to complainants and wanted to remind Members that in most instances the lack of feedback was not necessarily an indication that the work was not completed. The Department developed a progress report, which it intended to place on its systems via TMS, and indicated that commanders in the environment had been instructed to take steps in cases of serious neglect to provide feedback to complainants.
In terms of the performance indicators for crime investigations, the Department did not meet its target of increasing the detection rate for serious crimes by 1.5 %, to reach 48.5%, and noted that the actual achievement was 46.56%, which represented a deviation of 1.94%. The planned target was to increase the percentage of trial-ready case dockets for serious crimes by 15% to 51.84%, but actual achievement was 66.95%. The Department planned to increase the conviction rate for serious crimes to 88.80% but exceeded this and achieved 91.65%. The planned target for the percentage of trial-ready case dockets for contact crimes was 52.24%, but actual performance stood at 65.05%. The planned target for the conviction rate for contact crimes was set at 79.24%, while actual performance totalled 79.71%. The planned target for the percentage of trial ready case dockets for trio crimes was set at 58.74%, while actual performance was 73.82%. The planned target conviction rate for trio crimes was 71.52% and actual performance 72.29%. Planned targeted percentage of trial ready case dockets for crimes against women 18 years and above was set at 54.85% and actual performance at 65.30%. The planned target conviction rate for crimes against women 18 years and above was set at 80.31% and actual performance 82.57%. The percentage of trial ready case dockets for crimes against children under 18 years was set at 55.66% and actual performance at 63.15%.
The targets that were not achieved by the Department in respect of the sub-programme for crime investigations included the detection rate for contact crimes, where the target was set at 62.22% but the actual performance was 56.47%. The planned target for detection rate for trio crimes was set at 26.66% and actual performance was at 17.39%. For detection rate for crimes against women 18 years and above the planned target was 75% and actual performance 74.73%. The planned target for the detection rate for crimes against children under 18 years was set at 72% and actual performance at 69.31%. The planned target for conviction rate for crimes against children under 18 years was set at 80.04%, while the actual performance was 75.31 %.
Sub-programme 2: Forensic Services
The Department indicated that it did not meet its planned target to process 93% of case exhibits processed within 28 working days, and reported that only 68% of case exhibits received was analysed within the targeted time-frame. The Department also highlighted that the reduction in the SAPS test-fired firearm acquisitions impacted directly on the overall workload received and noted that this trend was evident in the 19% decrease of case exhibits. SAPS further informed Members that its strategy to advance the realisation of target processing of routine case exhibits rested on focusing resources on priority exhibits, distinguishing between routine, non-routine and intelligence case exhibits.
Sub-programme 3: Forensic Laboratory
In terms of sub-programme for the Forensic Laboratory, SAPS indicated that it did not meet its planned target to process 93% of case exhibits processed within 28 working days and reported that only 68% of case exhibits received were analysed within the targeted time-frame. It also highlighted that the reduction in the SAPS test-fired firearm acquisitions impacted directly on the overall workload received, and noted that this trend was evident in the 19% decrease of case exhibits. SAPS further informed Members that its strategy to advance the realisation of target processing of routine case exhibits rested on focusing resources on priority exhibits; distinguishing between routine, non-routine and intelligence case exhibits.
Sub-programme 4: Criminal Record Centre
The Department achieved its target of increasing the percentage of original previous conviction reports from 90% to 91.88%. SAPS also noted that its strategic priority was to improve the procedures for updating the records of offenders and indicated that the Department had generated 22 861 more reports within 20 days in the current financial year than in comparison to the previous financial year. The Department also indicated that 104 940 firearms applications were registered and completed in the current reporting period. SAPS also informed the Members that the Criminal Law (Forensic Procedures) Amendment Act of 2010 was brought into operation on 18 January 2013. The Committee was informed that a national instruction was compiled and issued in August 2014 and that the initial case administration system was developed and implemented in September.
Sub-programme 5: Specialised Investigations (DPCI)
The Department achieved all of its set targets. Some of the key highlights within the programme included that the DPCI effected about 5 000 arrests. The Department arrested 16 people belonging to three syndicates that operated in and out of North West Province, and seized drugs to the value of R40 million; vehicles valued at more than R1.4 million and cash that amounted to R168 000. A syndicate suspected of dealing with drugs between South Africa and Tanzania was also arrested. The number of individuals arrested for the illegal purchase, theft and possession of uncut diamonds and unwrought precious metals was 169, and 814 persons were convicted overall. 927 suspects were arrested for illicit mining and 89.09 carats of diamonds were confiscated. 35 clandestine laboratories were dismantled during the reporting period.
The Chairperson noted that, in the past, the Committee had received great cooperation from SAPS in providing the Committee with information and documents. During the interaction with SAPS on 19 and 23 September 2014, the Committee asked for additional information. However, the Committee did not receive the updated timeline document it requested from the Central Firearms Registry during the Committee's oversight visit.
The other area of concern for the Committee was that the SAPS had not provided the Committee with a comprehensive report or briefing document in relation to the crime statistics. Having access to this information was of immense value in finalising the Committee’s Budgetary Review and Recommendation Report (BRRR). The purpose of the BRRR was to integrate and consolidate financial and non-financial information with other oversight work related to service delivery, to assess the alignment of the Departmental strategic priorities with national priorities, to compare the MTEF allocations against the performance indicator targets to make sure they were realistic and aligned with the budget, and to make recommendations which could affect future allocations. The BRRR must provide an assessment of the Department’s service delivery performance, given the available resources, and provide an assessment of the effectiveness and efficiency of the Department’s use of resources. It was critical that these issues be raised during the Committee’s interaction with the SAPS. From a policy perspective, some key targets for the Medium Term Strategic Framework (MTSF) included a 2% annual reduction in the number of reported contact crimes, and an increase in the percentage of citizens who felt safe.
During the Committee’s oversight visits to Mamelodi in Gauteng, Members were concerned by the level of information received from the head of Detective Services. During this interaction there was no indication of what the crime statistics had been, for the past six months. It also became clear that there was not a hands-on approach. However, there was a quite different situation seen at Sunny Side in Pretoria where Members were quite satisfied that things were under control. The Committee’s view was that Detective Services were vital, to ensure that the country could deal with contact crime and trio crime in the future.
The Chairperson read out two letters from concerned citizens said that the essential question was "What are we doing to ensure that our citizens get the necessary service?” This was an issue the Committee ought to deal with, and find out how to ensure that the SAPS did give the necessary service to the citizens of our country?”
SAPS briefing: Department's Annual Report: Programme 3: Detective Services
Commissioner Riah Phiyega, National Commissioner, SAPS, thanked the Chairperson for the opportunity to brief the Committee, and said that she would begin with Programme 3: Detective Services. She said that the Committee was apprised of the good work that had been done throughout the current financial year. The SAPS had printed the document which the Chairperson alluded to earlier, and it was with Parliament at the time of the meeting.
The Chairperson interjected and said that the problem for any Parliamentary Committee was that any report must be tabled. The Committee had already approached the parliamentary staff earlier in the morning, who indicated that Parliament did not receive any document through the official channels from SAPS. SAPS was reminded that the only way in which the Committee could take note of any documents or reports was when these were properly tabled in Parliament, in line with the relevant legislation.
Commissioner Phiyega noted that that she was not aware of what the ATC processes were, but confirmed again that the document was sent to Parliament. Last year, when the Department appeared before the Committee, the Committee had received the printed the copy of the SAPS report in advance. There was another document that Gen Schutte would talk to that was still outstanding.
Gen Stefan Schutte Head: Resource Management, SAPS, said that the document regarding the CSIR extract; the report on Paarl University; the building project; the triangle structure; the Public Order Policing (POP) Unit; the Criminal Justice System (CJS) and other matters was "99.99% ready". The Department was waiting for one piece of information and would submit the report to the Chairperson on the next day. In terms of the prior letter, for the purposes of the BRRR, he noted that questions of catering and advertising would be dealt with when the Department presented on Programme 1: Administration.
The Chairperson asked Gen Schutte whether the information the Committee had requested during the discussion on the first quarter 2014 financial reports would be available on the next day.
Gen Schutte responded that it would.
Commissioner Phiyega commented that the Detective Services programme enabled the Department to investigate and provide support through forensic evidence and a CRC, to ensure that SAPS was able to have well founded and sustained dockets to present to court. The overall targets the Department had to achieve for the current year numbered 72, and of these, 53 were achieved. Nineteen targets remained unmet.
For Programme 1, there had been 17 targets set, and 12 achieved. Programme 2 had 23 targets of which seventeen were achieved. Programme 3 had 23 of which sixteen were achieved. Crime Intelligence had three targets, of which all were met. The Department achieved five of the six targets set for Programme 6.
She noted that in this financial year, 16 more targets were added than had existed in the previous year. The Department maintained the 73% level of performance level, despite adding fifteen more indicators. A transferal target was set by government to determine top performers, and the Department worked hard towards this goal. The Department appeared before the Committee with continued performance reports. The Department would continue to work on the areas highlighted by the AGSA. She summarised that, in terms of predetermined objectives, the AGSA identified three areas: namely, the reaction time to the Charlie complaints; the target of 20% of illicit drugs cases and 37% on liquor cases reported. Another area was the confirmation of firearms applications, but this was part of a problem of insufficient storage space. The Department was aware of that the AGSA found it difficult to trace applications but the Department intended to look into trying other processes, such as labelling boxes in different ways. The Department believed that the work it was doing would put it in a position to deal with the challenges identified by the AGSA.
In terms of management information SAPS performed extremely well and it was ranked amongst the most improved departments in this regard. It shifted from position 24 to position number 12 overall, and the Department was looking to continuing this performance. The Department would employ more forensic social workers, and an additional 21 would be appointed by the end of November 2014, in order to speed up the finalisation of assessment reports.
Commissioner Phiyega said that it was important for the Department to inform the Committee that Programme 6: The Directorate for Priority Crime Investigation (DPCI), had not realised its targets, and it would be reported upon under programme 3. The Department hoped to report DPCI as programme 6 in the next financial year. All the financial statements that Gen Schutte had alluded to assisted the Department to shift its targets. The Department moved from 1.6 million arrests to 1.7 million arrests.
Maj Gen Vineshkumar Moonoo, Divisional Commissioner, SAPS, said that he would submit a written response to the Committee in connection with the two cases highlighted in the letters read out by the Chairperson.
The Chairperson told the National Commissioner that the National Development Plan (NDP) was clear that all people in South Africa should feel and be safe. However, he also pointed out that there had been an increase in trio and serious crimes. In terms of the Department’s Annual Performance Plan (APP), which referred to the restructuring of top management and the new environment of crime, he questioned whether the organisational model of SAPS was suitable to deal with the frequency of crime in South Africa.
He also commented that there was an urban bias in terms of dealing with crime in South Africa and asked Gen Moonoo how the Department dealt with crime in rural areas. This in part related back to the letter sent to the Committee by Mrs Faith Sibisi. It was important that resources be allocated to deal with crime in rural areas, and that crime in these areas was also prioritised.
Gen Phiyega responded that the Department was comfortable with the current structures of SAPS. About two years ago the Portfolio Committee had requested that the Department lead its resources into the operational areas of the SAPS. Top management was well distributed throughout the Department. The Department had people at the right levels to perform their work. At top-level management, the Department had a distribution of 0.39%, while at middle level management the distribution was 4.21%, and at junior level 9.2%, while 86.3% was at production level. The Commissioner reiterated that she was confident that the Department had an optimal distribution of employees throughout SAPS's organisational structure.
She added that the Department was in the process of enhancing leadership at the provincial and station level. If the Department could not get leadership correct at a station and cluster level leadership, the operational level, then the Department would not be able to move to a higher level of performance. The Department also indicated that it was in the process of refining the functions of the cluster commanders, by equipping them with appropriate supervisory and local oversight skills. This should yield substantial fruit as the Department moved forward.
The Commissioner conceded that there was some form of urban bias in the Department’s services. It was important for the Department to start defining its rural strategy. The Department indicated that it might be difficult to invest significantly in physical infrastructure for rural areas, which was why the Department contemplated utilising mobile police stations, and strengthening its relations with traditional local authorities to ensure service delivery to rural communities. It was critical to develop a tailored model for rural areas, as the urban model could not merely be duplicated in rural circumstances.
Ms Kohler-Barnard wanted to know what SAPS was doing in relation to other laboratories, such as those managed by the Department of Health. She commented that it seemed, most often, that forensic evidence was ascribed to being SAPS's problem, and this was because that evidence tended to be sent through to laboratories that were problematic, with the result that sometimes it took years to get the results. It seemed that the detectives were doing their jobs, but the problem actually lay with health forensic laboratories of the Department of Health.
Maj Gen Khomotso Phahlane, Divisional Commissioner: Forensic Services, SAPS. responded that this was an issue that had been raised by the Committee on several occasions in the past. The Department believed that there was much more to be done on the part of the Department of Health (DoH) in terms of the speedy processing of cases so that the backlog in forensic environment was dealt with as a matter of urgency. The Department acknowledged that the mandate was premised on the assumption of ongoing engagement between the two Departments to address the problem more effectively. Some of the backlogs in the DoH in terms of forensic exhibits dated back six years, and this did frustrate the finalisation of many cases. The Department had therefore developed a mechanism where it followed up on such cases, brought in specified timeframes, so to speed up those cases.
The Chairperson commented that during the Committee’s last BRRR report preparation, there had been interaction with the Department that indicated that SAPS would be concluding a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the DoH. He asked to be updated in this regard.
Gen Phahlane indicated the MoU was already signed and this had resulted in cooperation between the two departments. He said that his previous comments were specific to the challenges in terms of processing of blood alcohol and toxicology tests.
Gen Charles Johnson, Head: Crime Investigations, Detective Services, SAPS, added that the DoH had drafted a draft protocol between the two Departments as well as other Departments. The Department provided input and a sub-Committee was established in the CJS Review Development Committee.
The Chairperson asked whether there were any implementation milestones still to be implemented.
Gen Johnson, said that the milestones demanded that input should be available at the end of October. The Department would have a discussion at its next meeting, early in November. He noted that there was a challenge relating to the document, in that it was too “cumbersome”. The Department made suggestions as to how the document could be improved.
Ms Kohler-Barnard said that the Annual Report did not seem to provide an indication of the total number of crimes that were committed. She made her own calculations, and came to a total of 4 388 974 crimes. However, the total number of convictions were 332 656, which represented a conviction rate of 7.6%. The Annual Report spoke to conviction rates of 91%, 80% and 70%, but seemingly these were not based on the raw figure of crimes committed. It was deceptive to use statistics on the number of trial ready dockets. She asked that SAPS confirm whether her assumptions were correct.
Gen Moonoo responded that there were 2 169 927 reported charges, and 366 269 charges were carried over from the previous year. The Department handled a total of 2 536 196 charges over the reporting period. There was a total of 333 656 convictions. At that time, the Department had 515 919 charges that were still outstanding. The convictions were not calculated in terms of the reported figures, but were calculated in terms of the cases where there were positive outcomes. In some instances the Department of Justice withdrew cases when it thought that alternative dispute resolution processes would be best suited to deal with certain cases, which consequently would result in no conviction. There were, therefore, a number of factors that the Department had to take into consideration. He also spoke to the issue of cases that were outstanding on the court roll, due to the defence perhaps using delaying tactics, often by changing lawyers. This was one of the dynamics that SAPS was confronted with, that detracted from the work of detectives.
Ms Molebatsi said that one of government’s priorities was to deal with crimes against women and children and noted that this target was not achieved by the Department. She asked how SAPS intended to improve the situation
Gen Moonoo confirmed that the Department did not achieve its target, and that the focus was to employ additional forensic social workers in all nine provinces. Through employing more forensic social workers, the Department would receive reports that specified how many assessments were conducted, so that the Department could establish whether social workers being appointed delivered the necessary services. This was not good in the beginning, but there were significant improvements later in the monitoring conducted by the Department.
Ms A Molebatsi commented that one of the reasons for the withdrawal of Domestic Violence Act (DVA) cases was that investigating officers told complainants that their cases were "not winnable". She asked how this was being addressed.
Gen Moonoo commented that members of SAPS were not allowed to tell citizens to withdraw cases, as this was contrary to the law. Previously, a detective or commander could close a case that was withdrawn by a complainant. The Department had, however, stopped this trend completely and no detective or any other official could close a case before it had been referred to a superior or public prosecutor. Once somebody was arrested, the police officer could not accept a withdrawal statement. It did cost the SAPS considerable money and time to take all cases to court. He asked that reports on any such withdrawals should be brought to the attention of SAPS management, so that the relevant officers could be charged.
Ms A Molebatsi commented that Gen Shezi performed wonderful work in quality control section and asked whether she would be redeployed.
Gen Phiyega responded that whenever someone was redeployed within the Department, there would be an assessment done to ensure that the right people were deployed in the right positions.
Mr P Groenewald (FF+) expressed concern that South Africa was losing the battle against crime and asked whether the National Commissioner shared his sentiment. 1 763 112 persons were arrested and charged in the 2013/14 financial year. He asked which fraction of the 73 355 cases formed part of the 1.7 million arrests made. The trial-ready documents in respect of trio-crimes was 11 605 of 15 721, and the conviction rate was 147. It was clear that there was a backlog, that SAPS was getting more and more cases every year and so he asked that the Committee be provided with the exact figure for the total backlog for the current and previous financial years.
Gen Moonoo responded that in terms of trio-crimes, the Department would focus on cases where no one was arrested, to ensure that the cases under investigation were finalised. The other intervention the Department would look at in respect of cases filed with warrant issues was to implement teams that would assist in tracing operations. The Department hoped to address service delivery in rural areas. Another challenge for the Department was the “essentialisation” of cases, which he explained as one investigator investiging a case against certain individuals, but another also investigating other cases against the same individuals. Now, SAPS had started to cluster these cases. He cited an example from the previous week; there had incidents in Gauteng, where there were 16 linked cases, and SAPS had now assigned 3 investigators to focus on the same cases, particularly to ensure that one investigator was not sending only a portion of the cases against one individual to court, and that person might receive bail because not all the cases had been clustered. He also gave an example of cases related to rhino poaching and said that there were three different police stations that investigated certain cases. A task team was established to investigate all cases related to rhino cases, to avoid fragmentation. In other instances related to forensic or DNA leads, task teams were also established. In KwaZulu-Natal the Department was able to arrest 53 persons that were linked to multiple cases, as a result of the information received from forensic services. This approach was initiated in the current financial year and the Department expected to see results in the next financial year.
He maintained that the country was not losing the battle against crime and it was making strides in this regard. He compared South Africa to Mexico, saying that South Africa was very open. Whilst he admitted that the country was not yet where the Department wanted it to be, the war against crime was not lost.
Commissioner Phiyega reiterated Gen Moonoo’s sentiment that the country was not losing the battle against crime. On the 20 serious crimes the government had decided to track, and the 17 that were reported by communities, the Department was doing well. Crime was a battle, and South Africa was not losing. The Department was working with the Department of Performance Monitoring and Evaluation to ensure that communities participated in the fight against crime. On its own, SAPS would never be able to win the battle against crime.
The Chairperson asked Gen Moonoo to update the Committee on the physical resources allocated to detectives. He accepted that it did not make sense to have 15 investigators at a station, but then interrogations services, for instance, might be placed far away, and he wondered how this situation was being monitored.
Gen Phiyega noted that there were still several challenges in respect of physical resources, such as accommodation and infrastructure, that needed to be addressed.
Gen Moonoo added that Department still had issues when it came to accommodation in both the detectives and police service as whole. The accommodation that some detectives had was completely inadequate. This was also true for the Family Violence and Child Sexual Offences units. One of the requirements for new facilities was that there should be identification surveillance rooms for the purposes of investigation. The Department issued specific instructions and these had to be included in the construction of new facilities. There were still many leases that the Department was tied to, for the specialist units, but that was not a sufficient excuse. He did not have the full answer on accommodation.
Gen Phiyega added that the five-plan service delivery programme started looking at the various standards that all new stations should meet, and how stations could be reorganised. The Department could not deal with all the challenges at once, but indicated that it was in the process of prioritising about ten to fifteen issues to ensure that all police stations had a platform to deliver policing services. Once the planning was completed the Department would gladly report to the Committee on the five-plan service delivery turn-around strategy.
Gen Schutte said that he did not think that new police stations had issues in respect of victim friendly facilities, among others, as most of the new police stations were well designed. However there were some inherent issues which had caused problems for some time in certain areas. This was one of the reasons why the Department shifted its focus to utilising mobile victim-friendly facilities some years ago. In some instances, detectives were not based at police stations, which separated detectives from holding facilities and this complicated their work. The Department had done a lot in term of establishing victim friendly facilities. The Department was also looking into improving front-line service delivery.
The Chairperson asked what the status of uniformed detectives was.
Gen Phiyega indicated that this matter was discussed in the previous MinMec, in preparation for submitting progress reports in August 2015. The discussion was healthy, and SAPS gave consideration to how the issue of uniformed detectives would be approached. While there were disagreement on whether detectives should wear uniform or not, the Department remained confident that it would meet its deadline to report on the matter.
The Chairperson commented that there were also other commitments that SAPS agreed to in previous BRRR interactions and the Committee had to be informed on the status of those commitments as a follow up would need to be included in the current BRRR. On 7 August, the committee recommended that detectives develop mechanisms to increase the number of court case dockets, and SAPS indicated that it would report on this in its Annual Report briefing. He asked for feedback on the status of this recommendation.
The Chairperson commented that there was an undertaking by SAPS to establish joint interventions between the Minsters of Police and Health. While the Committee was provided with oral representations, SAPS indicated that it would provide a progress report to the Committee.
Gen Phahlane said the Chairperson was correct in stating that the Department escalated this problem to the relevant ministers at some point; former Minister of Police Nathi Mthethwa had been involved. However, the issue had not yet been escalated to the new Minister. Other factors slowed down this process included the fact that the MoU was already signed, and the fact that there were higher level engagements taking place between the Directors General and senior people in this environment. At an operational level the Department was moving forward in this regard, but the Minister had not yet been briefed and so it was not possible to table a report at the moment.
Commissioner Phiyega added that the Department would submit a progress report on this issue to Committee, and would inform the Committee of the timing in writing.
Mr Groenewald wanted to follow up on a previous comment. It had been said that SAPS had to handle 2 169 927 charges, and that the Department had 515 919 outstanding cases. He asked whether the 515 919 were in addition to the other number.
Gen Moonoo responded that some of the 515 919 cases formed part of the 2 169 927 figure, given that this figure constituted all reported charges for the current financial year. During the course of the year, some the charges would end up in different columns, such as "referred to court"; "withdrawn"; "unfounded" and "under investigation". Cases referred to court were counted in the 515 919. The 2.5 million included some of the cases that were still outstanding in court.
Mr Z Mbhele (DA) said that the comments on deviation in one the presentation slides spoke about various contextual challenges in the different crime categories. However, there was no mention about human resource constraints that could have factored in under-performance. He asked whether the Department implemented the Committee’s recommendation to conduct a comprehensive skills audit to improve capacity.
Commissioner Phiyega said that the Department requested, from National Treasury, more funding for new positions outside the Department’s staff establishment to deal with the issue of capacity constraints. It indicated that the Department would be allocated with “something like 168” for the current year to ensure that the Department enhanced its capacity in terms of investigations. The Department had made considerable strides in terms of skills and training over the last three to four years.
Gen Nombulela Mbekele, Deputy Commissioner: Corporate Services, SAPS, added that the comprehensive skills audit was conducted and that she thought that a report was already submitted to the Committee. In 2011 the Department had a backlog of 4 845 detectives that required training. During the 2011/12 financial year the Department trained 1 524 detectives, while it trained 2 615 detectives in the 2012/13 financial year and trained 671 detectives in the current financial year, which cleared the 2011 backlog. The Department complied with the training requirements and indicated that this was a continuing process. Detectives were also trained on how to use Microsoft Office in order for them to use laptops issued by the Department. The capacitation of detectives remained a priority for the Department.
Commissioner Phiyega added that the Department was also focused on the issue of leadership in relation detective services. An SMS leadership conference was held in Mpumalanga for the first time this year. This was a very fruitful leadership exercise.
She also noted that, in terms of victim friendly facilities the Department continued to improve its performance.
Gen Moonoo said that the Department was implementing measures to address the challenge of capacity within the Detective Services. While the National Commissioner and management offered support in this regard, the dynamics of people and the new rumors related to pension funds meant that the Department lost a considerable amount of employees, who had left without realising what the implications of their actions were on the functions of the Department. Money alone would not stop people from leaving the Department, but this was rather a personal matter. He quipped that if money were the only issue he would not work for the organisation.
Commissioner Phiyega added that she had told the team that there was space to create quality security and police services in South Africa. While the Department could possibly not compete with ABSA or Transnet in terms of salaries, they were able to absorb skills from the organisation, and she said that “We can remain comfortable as a country that we have capable people to do jobs elsewhere”. The Department was a leader in terms of its entry level, given that people entered SAPS “to learn and do other things. If this was its niche market, then it was one that it must cherish.
The Chairperson said that some analysts indicated that there were deficits in crime intelligence related to cases of serious and trio-crimes. He asked how many informants SAPS had, and how must was spent on crime intelligence over the last financial year, given that the financial statements reflected a decrease from R33 to R31 million in this category. He also sought clarity about the relationship of Detective Services with Crime Intelligence, to establish whether there was a unified approach to deal with crime effectively.
Gen Moonoo responded that there was some progress in relation to crime intelligence in comparison to earlier years. The issue was a two-way process. Detectives needed to task crime intelligence while crime intelligence had to give feedback to them. All instructions were generally completed in writing so that one Department could not blame the other. The Crime Intelligence Unit was involved in all the successes of the Detective Services Unit, and this indicated that there was an upward trend in the relationship between the two programmes. With the appointment of the Acting Commander and Acting Divisional Commissioner interaction accelerated at the national level, but there was still a need for this to filter down to station level. During the quarterly performance review sessions with the provincial heads it was made clear that they must present specifically on the utilisation of crime intelligence. Informants were utilised across the two programmes, including visible policing. Everybody had a role to play and the successes started materialising. Informants were used in the cases in KZN and robberies in Gauteng, and information provided by Crime Intelligence. The Department indicated that it monitored the utilisation of crime intelligence information.
Gen Moonoo said that he was not aware that he was supposed to submit a written plan on the status of court ready dockets, and asked for lenience from the Chairperson for his failure then to do so. He explained that as soon a person had been charged and the docket taken to court, the docket was "court ready". This was not what the Department intended when it set the court ready docket indicator. The intention was to look at dockets being trial-ready. The indicator was changed to read “trial-ready” and the Department issued a directive to determine when dockets were trial-ready.
The Chairperson asked whether Gen Moonoo was happy with the progress in relation to the cooperation between the different units within SAPS, in terms of addressing organised crime units and trio crimes as well as the recent spate of armed robberies at malls in the Western Cape.
Gen Moonoo commented that the task teams were made up of personnel from the DPCI, Crime Intelligence, Forensics and Detectives and this indicated a rather collaborative relationship. While there were resource constraints within his division, he was able to rely on the assistance, in terms of both resources and personnel, from his colleagues in other divisions when it came to issues involving high profile incidents and organised crime. At a national level this collaborative relationship worked well, but had to be cascaded down to lower levels. He acknowledged that each division had its own mandate, but noted that in the end the police had a mandate to ensure that all units worked in harmony with one another. If he received the necessary resources, he might have been less reliant on other divisions but highlighted that communities and all other divisions had an important role to play in the fight against these kinds of crime.
Commissioner Phiyega emphasised that integrated service delivery was a mantra for government and this was not only between Departments, but within Departments. The successes of the DPCI were seen because there was better integration within Departments. There was a better PI Department that was more outward orientated. The successes of both PI and DPCI talked to integrated offering. The more the organisation isolated its offerings the more it became difficult to achieve its output. SAPS received 65 000 applications for entry in the current year. As an entry level platform, the Department achieved considerable successes.
Ms Kohler-Barnard asked Gen Dramat to update the Committee on the status of the various court challenges to the Hawks Bill, and to provide members with feedback on whether the uncertainty around who he had report to had an impact on morale. She also asked whether the DPCI was independent in terms of determining and managing the Department’s budget, and whether the organisation had its own capacity in terms of crime intelligence.
Commissioner Phiyega commented that the matter of the Hawks Bill had been argued in the Constitutional Court, and whatever outcome was achieved, the SAPS would ensure that it complied with that outcome.
Gen Anwar Dramat, Head, DPCI, noted that no judgment had been handed down yet. The uncertainty created by these matters had an impact on the morale of staff, but the Department was in constant communication with staff in terms of the latest developments. In terms of the legislation the DPCI was not supposed to have its own intelligence assessor. Legislation related to budget prescribed that money had to be ring-fenced, and the money that was allocated to the Department for the current financial year contributed to the successes of the DPCI. However, there was work to be done in terms of control of the programme’s budget, given that the head of the programme was not entirely in control of how the programme’s budget was spent.
Mr Groenewald commented that the targets of the DPCI were quite low and asked for an explanation of why this was the case. He also said that earlier in the year, the Commissioner indicated that drugs to the value of R1 billion had been seized, but later the figure was adjusted drastically. He asked for an explanation in this regard, though he was not sure whether the Commissioners comment referred to the DPCI.
Gen Dramat said the targets were based on the successes of previous years but that SAPS also took into account where the Department planned to take its projects. In his previous presentations he indicated an operation that was undertaken in the Northern Cape on the issue of diamonds, and this project was successfully terminated as it was started two years ago. The minute the Department started to focus at the right level and quality, it would impact on the time required to complete projects or investigations, but at the moment the time taken was one of the reasons the targets appeared to be set low. In addition, the lower targets meant that the DPCI would be able to achieve, and to get investigations on the levels where it could have maximum impact. He reiterated that targets were mostly based on what had happened in the one financial year and had to be achievable.
Commissioner Phiyega responded that any drug-bust was a win for the country, no matter the value, and each of the achievements must be celebrated, because this meant that a criminal who was involved in drugs was being taken out of business.
Ms Molebatsi asked who decided whether a document was trial ready.
Gen Dramat responded that the unit commanders and the prosecutors generally determined which documents were trial-ready.
The Chairperson asked the National Commissioner to explain more about the time-line for Programme 6, when it would be reporting separately to this Committee. He also asked whether there were enough resources, in terms of the budget, to be allocated to the DPCI in the next financial year.
Commissioner Phiyega responded that DPCI was as much a part of the detection value chain as other units. The fact that there was new legislation that sought to reinvent the DPCI would never make it less of police detection. It was important that the Department was integrated into the broader JCPS process to ensure that good dockets went to court, and criminals were convicted. The discussions around how this should be done were problematic, given that those discussions centred on the DPCI being an island on its own. National Treasury did not give the Department of Police permission to have DPCI as a separate vote, given that DPCI was a specialist unit within the police. Gen Dramat could not approach the National Treasury to receive a separate budget but had to share within the budget vote of the SAPS, unless Parliament decided that the DPCI must be allocated with a separate vote.
Gen Schutte added that the DPCI was invited to provide input into its budget allocation in the beginning of the year, and received an allocation, like all other cost centres. SAPS did not tamper with funds in this regard. She reminded Members that about three years ago, the DPCI's budget was increased with R100 million. The Department informed the National Treasury that it intended to establish Programme 6 for DPCI. This meant that the Department would have to determine the purpose and objectives for that programme, and apportion some of the funds for personnel and vehicles between general and specialised investigations. This would have to be done in terms of the policy and protocol approved by the Minister and the Committee. Costing was very difficult and the Department did not want to have to estimate costs, given that there was no baseline in terms of the apportionment. It would take the Department about two years to refine the baseline. It did not wish to over or underestimate the costs involved in finalising Programme 6, but this would definitely be done soon.
Commissioner Phiyega added that the Department was committed to ensuring that it complied with the law and that the feedback it presented to the Committee was also consistent with the law. Compliance with legislation was crucial for any Accounting Officer. In order to deal with compliance it was important that the Department “purified”. The Department had to deal with the loose arrangement between the Detective Services and the DPCI, given that in certain instances the DPCI had to deal with cases that were supposed to be dealt with by the Detective Services. There were also other focus areas that had to be migrated elsewhere. There was a chunk of lower levels of detection that had to move from the DPCI to Detective Services. At the end of the day, the outcome was about ensuring that there was a reduction in crime.
Gen Dramat responded that there were discussions around purifying the mandate of the DPCI, and said that there was legislation which mandated the DPCI to focus on serious crimes, organised, commercial and corruption crimes, but did not give the DPCI the mandate to deal with all of those offences. The question was really about what had to be migrated to the Detective Services in terms of the workload. These discussions concluded that about 60% of the case dockets that were with the DPCI fell outside of the mandate of the organisation. Previous presentations provided the Committee with an indication of which factors were used to determine the seriousness of certain crimes. The DPCI was not a case-based institution but threat based. There was agreement that 60% of the cases with the DPCI had to be migrated to Detective Services, but this did not mean that 60% of the human resource capacity had to be shifted as well. The Department still had to engage formally with the Department of Public Service and Administration (DPSA) to determine what the exact staff level was that would be required by the DPCI.
Gen Moonoo added that Department went through a joint process to determine the split between Detective Services and DPCI. After the audit was conducted it became clear that just over 20% of investigations that were dealt with by the DPCI had to remain with the programme. It was decided that 65% of the staff should be moved over to Detective Services and 35% had to remain with the DPCI. The programme had to be given a chance to grow and the cases that DPCI was currently focused on would not provide it with the leeway to deal with matters that it should be focusing on. It was important not to repeat the mistakes that were made when the DPCI was established. The intention was never to transfer organised and commercial crime completely to the DPCI.
Gen Dramat noted that the issue of splitting and migration did not amount to implementation of the legislation, and said that a complex case would not have the same resources attached to it as a simple one. There was thus no direct correlation between the number of cases, the complexity of the cases and the resources required to deal with the cases. In terms of developing and establishing the DPCI a determination had to be made about the number of personnel required, and to ensure that the budget was able to support the operations of the programme. The legislation gave a clear indication that the Head of the DPCI, in consultation with the DPSA, should be responsible for staffing of the programme.
Gen Schutte responded that the Department could not move all of the funds to Programme 6, as at the end of the day it would end up with a function that was non-compliant. There had to be some sort of split, in terms of what was removed and what was retained.
Commissioner Phiyega commented that the Department had to comply with the provision of the Act, repeated that the DPCI had to "purify" and at the moment this was not the case. By “purifying”, the Department would be guided in how it allocated resources. Once this process was done there would be one Accounting Officer for Vote 25. She assured the Committee that the DPCI would be allocated with the required resources to perform its work.
Mr Maake commented that he was confused about the explanations provided by the SAPS officials. His understanding was the migration did not go with functions, that the functions were established by an Act, and could not be tampered with. The definition of serious crimes could be refined but not the functions of the DPCI. He was not sure whether the Committee was supposed to deal with the disagreement in terms of the split and recommended further discussions amongst themselves.
Ms Kohler-Barnard asked that Commissioner Phiyega explain her statement that both Detective Services and DPCI were "deeply polluted", and asked what she was implying. The DPCI was set up as a unit to replace the Scorpions, but it seemed as if the DPCI was under attack from the SAPS and did not receive the support needed to perform its functions. She expressed concern that the DPCI was not independent enough and said that the unit needed expertise, not just more bodies, to perform its functions.
Commissioner Phiyega responded that the recording of the meeting could be played over to determine whether she had in fact used the words that Ms Kohler-Barnard had used; she denied that made the statement about "pollution", saying it was never implied or said.
The Chairperson asked if Ms Kohler-Barnard would retract her statement.
Ms Kohler-Barnard requested that the tapes be checked, as she clearly heard the Commissioner use the word “pollution”.
The Commissioner responded that she could confirm that she spoke to the need to comply and purify, given that organised crime started from level one to five. "Purified" meant that the Department had to get clarity in terms of the cases that were within the ambit of the DPCI, but which should have been with Detective Services. At no point was the statement intended to imply that there was criminality within the programmes. Claims that SAPS was attacking the DPCI were false. The functions of the various programmes were interdependent, and so that meant that the DPCI was SAPS. If SAPS was not functioning, the Department would not be able to celebrate the various successes of the different programmes. It was important to a have a balanced conversation which would indicate that everyone had been listening. She assured that Committee that the Department, for the first time, adopted a rational approach and that there had been positive growth in the various environments of the organisation. SAPS was in good hands in terms of leadership and management, and was a well-managed organisation.
Mr Maake said that he agreed with the National Commissioner that she never made the remarks that Ms Kohler-Barnard referred to. Even Gen Dramat used the term "cleaning".
Mr Z Mbhele interjected that he too heard the word "pollution" being used by the Commissioner, and the question raised by Ms D Kohler-Barnard was to determine the frame of reference.
Mr Maake added that the allegation made by Ms Kohler-Barnard could not be considered as unimportant, and recommended that the recording be checked.
Mr P Groenewald suggested that the Committee wait for the outcome of the judgment of the Constitutional Court. He commented that he was glad to hear that the Department was moving away from assessing only the value of drug busts, but questioned whether the Commissioner knew what was happening within the services.
Mr B Joseph (EFF) commented that Gen Dramat indicated that the budget for specialised investigations was not under his control and that there had been under-spending within the programme. Under-spending was "not a major train smash”. It became clear that the relationship between the management of SAPS and DPCI was not well. He asked how the management of SAPS and DPCI intended to mend their relationship. He expressed the concern that further discussions between the management of SAPS and DPCI would cause conflict and suggested that the Chairperson arrange another sitting to specifically deal with the issue of funding.
The Chairperson said what was of importance for the Committee was to monitor the implementation of legislation and the Department’s performance. The Department’s presentations had to be read in conjunction with the previous briefings to the Committee. He said that the Committee would evaluate the responses and make its decisions in the following week. It was important that Detective Services achieved the necessary performance to deal with serious and trio-crimes. He noted that detection and conviction were vital.
The meeting was adjourned.
- South African Police Services 2013/14 Annual Report
- Department of Police Vote No. 25 presentation
- Human Resource Development presentation
- Summary of SAPS 2013-14 Annual Report Analysis PC on Police
- SAPS 2013-14 performance: Service Delivery and Financial Summary and Analysis
- Audit Outcomes of the Police Portfolio
- PFMA audit outcomes of 2013-14 FY for Department of Department of Correctional Services
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